Basque Culinary World Prize
An award for chefs who improve society through gastronomy
A generation of international chefs have now expanded their role in society and redefined their profession by integrating new skills, creativity, innovation and social concerns into their approach. The Basque Culinary World Prize will celebrate this evolution.
This prize celebrates a chef of any nationality who demonstrates how gastronomy can be a powerful force for change: those men or women whose impact can be felt ‘beyond the kitchen.’
It is awarded by the Basque Culinary Center (BCC), a world-leading academic institution in gastronomy, and supported by the Basque Government, through the framework of the Euskadi-Basque Country Strategy.
The Basque Culinary World Prize will be awarded to an exceptional chef of any nationality or culinary background who demonstrates – by his or her work – that gastronomy can be a powerful engine for change.
The winner will have improved society in some way through gastronomy. This could be through culinary innovation; sustainability; a commitment to social responsibility; or the economic development of their community; involvement in health or environmental campaigns; the promotion of pioneering cultural projects, or works that benefit society through their positive impact on the food industry.
No members of the BCC, the Jury or the Prize Committee are eligible to win the prize.See FAQs
How it works
To be considered for the award, chefs must be nominated by another active professional from the world of gastronomy – for example a fellow chef, food writer or food supplier – or an institution from the gastronomic sector. Those nominating must complete the Nomination Form, giving their full reasons why the chef they have named deserves the prize.
All nominations are first assessed by the Prize Committee: who check they meet the judging criteria. In 2017, a list of the strongest ten finalists will be then announced and delivered to the Jury to delibarate and choose the person who best represents the values of this prize. The winner is announced at a special event, and awarded in a gala organized in the Basque Country.
Each part of the process is supported by a secretariat of BCC staff that provides the research capacity needed to assist the prize committee and the Jury in their consideration of the nominations.
The nomination process opens
The nomination process closes
Meeting of the Prize Committee. Announcement of the 10 finalists
Meeting of the Jury: winner announcement
The winner receives the prize in a special gala, organized in the Basque Country.
With this prize, we hope to share with the world stories of chefs that are using gastronomy for a better future, we need people to nominate those who are fighting for it in anyway, even in a small scale: we are all part of the revolution.
To be considered for the award, chefs will have to be nominated by another active professional from the world of gastronomy - for example a fellow chef, food writer or food supplier, or an institution. Those nominating will have to complete the Nomination Form in which they give their reasons why the chef they have named deserves to be considered.
We are asking for the support of the gastronomic world in the nominations process because we want to use its collective knowledge to unearth candidates from every corner of the globe who may have made an outstanding contribution to gastronomy but have not come to wider public attention. This isn’t a vote: whether a candidate is nominated by one person or one hundred their name will be given equal weight.
The Basque Culinary World Prize identifies men and women working in gastronomy and striving to excel, the innovative, creative, determined - and sometimes impetuous - trailblazers who are engaged with their community and demonstrate every day how gastronomy can be an engine for transformation.
Nominations will be considered by two bodies
A group of academics and specialists in related areas of the prize criteria – for example culinary innovation, health, anthropology and sustainability – will be in charge of selecting the strongest nominations that fit the criteria of the prize to create a list of 20 finalists.View committee
The members of the International Council of the Basque Culinary Center show the heights that chefs can reach when they transcend the conventional frontiers of their profession, taking their voice, influence, knowledge and talents beyond the kitchen.
For this reason, they will be responsible for electing the winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize. Each year, leading experts in from related disciplines (reflecting different aspects of the prize) will also be invited as special guests to contribute their own perspectives to the deliberations.
Cuisine is life: we cannot forget that. for that reason, i love seeing that some chefs trace their vocation back to their sense of humanity. i am amazed by this, because it is not something ephemeral, it is the future of cuisine. today’s chefs have set this path wisely.
The Basque Culinary World Prize will award €100,000 to a project chosen by the winner, expressing the transformative power of cuisine.
The prize is endorsed and granted by the Basque Culinary Centre (BCC), a world leading academic institution dedicated to gastronomic education, innovation and research. It is supported by the Basque Government, through the framework of the Euskadi-Basque Country Strategy, a country brand in which all the Basque institutions collaborate and participate. The strategy promotes intrinsic Euskadi values such as hard work and compromise, the capacity to excel, a vocation for transformation and the creation of equal opportunities for men and women.
Through the launch of the prize, Euskadi captures the spirit of its region, and at the same time builds on its reputation as one of the world’s foremost gastronomic destination, which keeps on offering new reasons to visit and enjoy.
Today's recipient of the Basque Culinary World Prize reflects how gastronomy can take a leap from craft to consciousness. Maria Fernanda uses Cacao as a gastronomic symbol that has a positive impact on the entire food chain. This is an inspiring project that exemplifies the great reach of gastronomy. Chefs can make a difference
Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe
Maria has built a whole chain of education, entrepreneurship and economic development around Venezuelan cacao. With Kakao and Cacao de Origen, she supports local producers with the resources they need to improve their product – including production processes, fermentation and marketing – in order to export to master chocolatiers around world aligned with the Bean to Bar movement (some 60 producers in 18 communities are currently taking part). Maria also helps women to become chocolate entrepreneurs themselves, with a training program that focuses on gender equality, competitiveness and fairtrade practices. In collaboration with Simón Bolivar University, Maria has also founded a Cacao Industry Management program from which 1,500 have already graduated (94% women).